By the way… NASA against X Planet

Picture P53In March 2014 NASA wrote:

…After searching hundreds of millions of objects across our sky, NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has turned up no evidence of the hypothesized celestial body in our solar system commonly dubbed “Planet X”…

…Researchers previously had theorized about the existence of this large but unseen celestial body, suspected to lie somewhere beyond the orbit of Pluto. In addition to “Planet X,” the body had garnered other nicknames, including “Nemesis” and “Tyche”…

…This recent study which involved an examination of WISE data covering the entire sky in infrared light, found no object the size of Saturn or larger exists out to a distance of 10,000 astronomical units (au), and no object larger than Jupiter exists out to 26,000 au. One astronomical unit equals 93 million miles. Earth is 1 au, and Pluto about 40 au, from the Sun…

Picture P54…But searches of the WISE catalog are not coming up empty. The second study reveals several thousand new residents in our Sun’s “backyard,” consisting of stars and cool bodies called brown dwarfs. “Neighboring star systems that have been hiding in plain sight just jump out in the WISE data,” said Ned Wright, the University of California.

…The second WISE study, which concentrated on objects beyond our solar system, found 3,525 stars and brown dwarfs within 500 light-years of our Sun. “We’re finding objects that were totally overlooked before,” said Davy Kirkpatrick, NASA’s Infrared and Processing Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology.

…The WISE mission operated from 2010 through early 2011, during which time it performed two full scans of the sky. The survey captured images of nearly 750 million asteroids, stars and galaxies. Searches of the WISE data catalog for these moving objects are uncovering some of the closest stars. The discoveries include a star located about 20 light-years away in the constellation Norma, and a pair of brown dwarfs only 6.5 light-years away – making it the closest star system to be discovered in nearly a century…

…Despite the large number of new solar neighbors found by WISE, “Planet X” did not show up. Previous speculations about this hypothesized body stemmed in part from geological studies that suggested a regular timing associated with mass extinctions on Earth. The idea was that a large planet or small star hidden in the farthest reaches of our solar system might periodically sweep through bands of outer comets, sending them flying toward our planet. The Planet X-based mass extinction theories were largely ruled out even prior to the new WISE study.

Other theories based on irregular comet orbits had also postulated a Planet X-type body. The new WISE study now argues against these theories as well.

Both of the WISE searches were able to find objects the other missed, suggesting many other celestial bodies likely await discovery in the WISE data.

Source: http://www.nasa.gov/

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